Causal attributions regarding conflicts between friends in middle childhood

Anupama Joshi1, Jennifer C. Ferris1
1California State University, United States
Cite this article:  Joshi, A., & Ferris, J. (2002). Causal attributions regarding conflicts between friends in middle childhood. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 30, 65-74.

Volume 30 Issue 1 | e1149 | Published: February 2002 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2002.30.1.65

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With a focus on conflict as an interpersonal event rather than a social outcome, the present study investigated children's causal attributions regarding conflicts with friends during middle childhood. Thirty-nine girls and 34 boys responded to an open-ended question about causes of conflicts with friends. Children attributed conflicts between friends to human or relationship characteristics, interactional conditions, or person characteristics. As expected children were more likely to consider conflicts as results of mutual factors than of individual influence (p < .0001). Also, more children considered causes of conflicts to be of an impermanent rather than of a stable nature (p < .01). Children's responses to the open-ended format revealed their very complex understanding of conflict in friendship.
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